Japanese player gets life ban for bets, fixing

LONDON • Japanese player Junn Mitsuhashi has been banned for life following an investigation into match-fixing, the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) announced on Tuesday.

He has also been fined US$50,000 (S$69,700) after being found to have made corrupt approaches to other players and to have placed bets on matches.

The ban applies with immediate effect and means the 27-year-old cannot "compete in, or attend, any tournament or event organised or sanctioned by the governing bodies of the sport", the TIU said.

In November 2015, Mitsuhashi asked Joshua Chetty, a South African player he had previously coached, to make a corrupt approach to a fellow player during an ITF Futures tournament in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

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The player was offered US$2,000 to underperform in a singles match and US$600 in a doubles match.

Chetty received a lifetime ban last September.

In December 2015, Mitsuhashi directly approached a different player at a tournament in Lagos, Nigeria to ask him to fix aspects of a match.

He also illegally placed 76 bets on tennis matches between October and November 2015 and refused to cooperate with the TIU investigation, both of which are separate offences.

Mitsuhashi achieved a career-high singles ranking of 295 in 2009. He was ranked 1,997th at the time of his offences.

Tennis has faced significant match-fixing problems, particularly at levels where prize money is low.

It was the sport involved in 45 per cent of reported cases of suspicious betting during the first quarter of this year, according to the European Sport Security Association.

In March, ITF president David Haggerty announced plans for tours with a limit of 750 male and 750 female players.

It is thought that around 14,000 are competing among the full-time ranks, with nearly half of these failing to win any prize money. This, it is thought, can cause some players to be tempted by corruption.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2017, with the headline 'Japanese player gets life ban for bets, fixing'. Print Edition | Subscribe